Traveling to Tropical Climates? Two Important Considerations
You are all set to travel to your favorite tropical locale. You have your sun block, you are all waxed, ready to get the tan of your life. You hop on board the plane, and as you arrive to your tropical paradise, you note one thing: clouds, and plenty of them. Now, this might not seem like a big deal to long term travelers like myself. I have been traveling with my boyfriend through Southeast Asia for the last 20 months, so I naturally do not get too concerned over a few overcast or rainy days, when I am spending at least one month in most locations. But if you only have a week, or less, to spend at the beach, you might be doomed. Your vacation is ruined, because you did not do your homework before hand.
Monsoon Season and Travel
Now, most tropical locations experience a wet and dry season. Dry season means perfect weather in most spots, or maybe 30 minutes of light rain early in the morning or later in the evening. Excellent! Wet season, on the other hand, can mean a number of things. It can mean a shower every 3 or 4 days, or an hour of rain daily. Or it can mean an absolute deluge, or downpour, of rain, for hours a day. Some locations in India receive hours on end of rain, every day, during monsoon season. Other spots receive rain almost every day, for extended periods. If you are keen on sunshine you need to know when you are traveling, and you need to avoid wet season.
Even if you are traveling to a location which does not experience severe monsoons, you could be in trouble if you schedule your trip during wet season. Phuket, Thailand, frequently had consecutive rainy, dreary days during our months spent in the tropical locale during wet season. We did not mind this as we had many months to spend there, and most days were actually brilliantly sunny, but if you wanted to hit Phuket for a week or so during wet season, you have to accept the possibility that you may get very few, if any, brilliant beach days.
On the other hand, wet season rates in many locations are significantly lower than dry season rates, especially if the wet season is a bit more severe. So you can travel on a budget, but you must be prepared to embrace some rain if you plan to travel during low season.
When my boyfriend and I traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, we were stunned at how cool the temperature was in a semi-tropical locale. I mean, the temp hit below 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night, which was an absolute shock for us, coming from the heat box known as Bali. We were warned however, that come April, the heat would reach sweltering, unbearable levels. Sure enough, as we stuck around from December, to January, and February, the heat worsened. Finally, at the peak of dry season, the temperature hit over 110 degrees Fahrenheit on some days. Walking more than a few minutes was difficult in such temperatures, and sleeping, even in an air conditioned room, was tough at times, as the residual heat from the day barely wore off well into the night.
We also were told that you would experience one to two months of heavy smog and pollution when the farmers around Chiang Mai burned the crops. Sure enough, we saw many dazes of haze, and although it kept the temps down, it made breathing difficult at times.
The lesson? When you travel to a tropical locale you might get more than you bargained for. Make sure to check for any temperature extremes that you might experience during dry season, to properly prepare yourself for any potentially difficult living conditions that you might encounter.
Factor in climate and weather extremes before you book your flight ticket.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys covering topics on domestic and international travel; if you are in the Mississippi are and are looking for top-notch accommodations, check out the Quality Inn Hotel in Robinsonville Mississippi.
Filed under: Experiences
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